“Mom, Byron’s coming!”

Byron being my old boss, from my old computer job. The one that began back in the days of mainframe computers and DecWriter II terminals, reel-to-reel tape backups. And the dire warning in the title would be my then kindergartner, none other than Miz Lizard Breath, diving onto the floor of my old red minivan upon seeing Byron come out of my then work building toward our vee-hickle.

I worked for Byron for 15 years and I more or less grew up in that job. I was a kid with a music degree and absolutely no idea what to do with either music or my life. Byron’s boss told him to hire me and I am pretty sure that Byron didn’t really want to. I had no experience doing anything with computers and I’m sure he felt I was being foisted upon him. For the first six months or so, I wasn’t very happy there. I could write a book about that but I won’t except to say that it was not Byron’s fault. Despite his reluctance to hire me, he treated me with respect and as I began to figure out how to do my job and gained the tiniest bit of respect from those I worked with, I settled in and we started to become friends.

He put up with quite a lot from me over the years. My constant badgering during the early days. I wanna learn more. Lemme at that DecWriter, I wanna talk to the mainframe. And later when I learned enough to be dangerous and did things like write unauthorized programs to automate boring, repetitive tasks or directly editing data files to correct errors if they couldn’t be corrected via any of the existing programs. Then there were the ongoing antics of a bunch of young co-workers having fun and playing pranks on each other and sometimes our boss.

When I had Lizard Breath (after five years there), he helped conspire to create a part-time job for me and put up with my non-standard, sometimes rather erratic schedule for the next 10 years. One afternoon I arrived at work a little wild-eyed. We were in the throes of toilet training back at the Landfill and when I spotted a little yellow-ish puddle by the coffee maker, I think I jumped about five feet! Byron said, “Go sit down, Mama.”

Despite the title, one thing that Byron was not was scary! The only scary moment I can remember is the day he walked into the office brandishing an empty CalComp plotter paper tube and WHANGED the top of a metal cabinet with it hard enough to leave a big dent. That got our attention, boy oh boy. But he wasn’t angry at any of us. His anger was directed at some corporate nit-wit making yet another bird-brained policy. I dunno know who. Dilbert or somebody. You know the kind. More often, Byron endured the good-natured ridicule of his young, carefree employees. Like the time Kim (I wonder where the heck Kim is these days) and I caught sight of him in the snack bar wearing Blues Brothers type sunglasses and could not stop laughing all afternoon. We were young and silly then. Poor Byron.

I could go on and on with stories about Byron and what I now call “my old job” with CSC. But. Byron died on December 29th. Farewell, my “old” and beloved boss Byron. I have not seen Byron in at least five years but I think about that job often and I remember all of the good times we had there. I worked for Byron for a long time and I will always value the positive influence he had on my life.

Love you Byron. I sincerely hope I will see you on the other side some day.

2 Responses to ““Mom, Byron’s coming!””

  1. Margaret Says:

    Now you made me like Byron a lot and I NEED to know where he is and what he’s doing. Did he die and that’s why you wrote this?

  2. l4827 Says:

    I worked for him too. My wife met him at a CSC (rain filled) picnic where he was cooking corn on the cob. Back then he told me that he was a big believer in education and that we, the employees, were there to train and move on. He was an easy going manager and politically savvy in the very compacted governmental computer contract business. He was there with some words of wisdom and some rather sage advice in some major events in my life: the passing away of first my mother, two years latter father and then later he was at our wedding.
    I also haven’t seen him in about five years. I think that he has been retired for only 4 years.